It’s no secret that the Tough Enough To Wear Pink initiative has rapidly gained visibility and popularity throughout the west. From California to Colorado and Arizona, pink nights area a common theme at professional rodeos. One man has taken it upon himself to achieve the goal of having every professional rodeo across the United States affiliated with Tough Enough to Wear Pink: Michael Langberg Jr., a.k.a. Relay the Cancer Awareness Clown.
Langberg has worked to raise awareness and funds for cancer research since 2007. He decided to start a Relay for Life team after learning that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Langberg has also been a volunteer at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for the past decade. Wanting to marry his love for rodeo with his faith-driven desire to spread the word about early detection and cancer awareness, Relay the Cancer Awareness Clown was born.
Langberg got into rodeo as a young man, competing in team penning events throughout his high school years before moving on to boxing and then kickboxing. He eventually got back into rodeo helping some friends put on a Friday night bull riding at their home before reconnecting with the sport he loves so dearly at Frontier Days.
“My favorite part about rodeo is just being a part of a family,” Langberg said. “Just having that in my life and in my blood…everything about rodeo, I love.”
It was during one year of volunteering at the Daddy of ‘Em All that he kept having a vision of a clown. He decided to act upon his gut instincts and after consulting his men’s group at church the name “Relay” was selected, due to Langberg’s involvement with Relay for Life.
Langburg wanted to travel the country from rodeo to rodeo, spreading the word about early cancer detection as well as raising money for research and various organizations, but knew that he couldn’t do it alone monetarily. In fact, he left a well-paying job to pursue what he describes as a God-driven mission.
“I’m doing this because God has led me to do it,” Langberg said. “I stepped out from making $2,500 a week to barely making enough to get by. I do everything I do through sponsorships.”
Langberg is sponsored by:
American Hat Company
Boots ‘N’ Rags Company
Pink Lemonade Foundation
Tough Enough to Wear Pink Foundation
The Best Hat Store
“This is not my idea,” he added. “God has led me to do this and it’s a religious thing for me. I feel that’s the reason why it’s had the success it’s having.”
And he’s had plenty of success. In 2015, Langberg led four rodeos to sign up with Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Many people are unaware of the fact that just because a rodeo has a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night,” doesn’t mean that they are actually linked to the organization. His goals for 2016 include a Southern states push to bring Tough Enough to Wear Pink from Louisiana to Florida.
Currently, Relay the Cancer Awareness Clown raises funds for an organization called Pink Lemonade. The organization focuses not only on assisting those with a cancer diagnosis, but their entire family that is similarly affected. They accomplish this goal through food delivery, light housekeeping and even yard maintenance – all tasks that oftentimes become impossible for an individual going through radiation or chemotherapy treatments to complete. He also raises funds for Relay for Life on an ongoing basis to support cancer research of all types. You can donate to his team by visiting his website.
“What touches my heart and makes it why I do what I do is when I visit the cancer centers and I get to sit with the people who are going through radiation or chemo and put a smile on their face when they’re sitting there and they’re hurting and I can actually lift their spirits – that’s the best part of it. Just helping and making these people happy in their time of need.”